According to the Jerusalem Post, the U.S. is sending thousands of troops to take part in the largest ever missile defense “exercise” this Spring.
Last week, Lt.-Gen. Frank Gorenc, commander of the US’s Third Air Force based in Germany, visited Israel to finalize plans for the upcoming drill, expected to see the deployment of several thousand American soldiers in Israel.
The drill, which is unprecedented in its size, will include the establishment of US command posts in Israel and IDF command posts at EUCOM headquarters in Germany – with the ultimate goal of establishing joint task forces in the event of a large-scale conflict in the Middle East.
The US will also bring its THAAD (Terminal High Altitude Area Defense) and shipbased Aegis ballistic missile defense systems to Israel to simulate the interception of missile salvos against Israel.
Is War Imminent?
In response to the Iranian missile tests this weekend (September), French authorities were the first to respond, calling it a, “very bad signal to the international community.”We want to underline that the development by Iran of a missile program is a source of great concern to the international community,”the French Foreign Ministry said in a written statement. Israeli officials suggested the flamboyant Iranian military drills this weekend were a sign that international sanctions on the country were taking a heavy toll and that any additional boycotts, on its banks or oil industry, would be crippling.
Israeli Defense Minister Ehud Barak said the large missile tests showed, “the dire straits of Iran in light of the tightening sanctions around her, including the considerations in the last few days regarding the sanctions of exporting petroleum as well as the possibility of sanctions against the Iranian Central Bank.” While the chances of Iran going through with its threat of closing the Straits of Hormuz are slim, the deployment of thousands of US troops and naval ships to Israel shows the US isn’t taking any chances. Source
If you read my last blog post which discusses the pieces falling into place for the final conflict which is really the world against Israel, we see both U.S. and Russian Warships are both now off the coast of Gaza.
The United States Navy has sent three amphibious warships to the eastern Mediterranean in case they are needed to evacuate Americans from Israel.
“This is due diligence. It is better to be prepared should there be a need,” an American official said as the Israel-Gaza conflict continued on Monday.
The ships would be used only for aiding Americans and would not have a combat role, CNN reported.
The three ships — the USS Iwo Jima, USS New York, and USS Gunston Hall — had been scheduled to return to Norfolk, Va., after Thanksgiving. They were west of Gibraltar last week before the decision was made to turn them around and send them to the eastern Mediterranean.
From Business Insider
Russian warships have dropped anchor off the coast of Gaza in the case that the Palestinian-Israeli conflict escalates, a Russian Navy Command source told Voice of Russia.
The Russian Navy continuously monitors the situation and studies possible options for evacuating Russians, the source said.
The move mirrors what the U.S. did last week when it sent three warships to the coast of Israel to help Americans looking to get out of Israel.
This entire region has seen a build-up of military power since September. They can call it “exercises”, patrols, contingency plans and it all points to an upcoming conflict that has been planned and will take place soon:
From The Telegraph
Armada of international naval power massing in the Gulf as Israel prepares an Iran strike
An armada of US and British naval power is massing in the Persian Gulf in the belief that Israel is considering a pre-emptive strike against Iran’s suspected nuclear weapons programme.
Cruisers, aircraft carriers and minesweepers from 25 nations are converging on the strategically important Strait of Hormuz in an unprecedented show of force as Israel and Iran move towards the brink of war.
In preparation for any pre-emptive or retaliatory action by Iran, warships from more than 25 countries, including the United States, Britain, France, Saudi Arabia and the UAE, will today begin an annual 12-day exercise.
The war games are the largest ever undertaken in the region.
They will practise tactics in how to breach an Iranian blockade of the strait and the force will also undertake counter-mining drills.
The multi-national naval force in the Gulf includes three US Nimitz class carrier groups, each of which has more aircraft than the entire complement of the Iranian air force.
The carriers are supported by at least 12 battleships, including ballistic missile cruisers, frigates, destroyers and assault ships carrying thousand of US Marines and special forces.
The British component consists of four British minesweepers and the Royal Fleet Auxiliary Cardigan Bay, a logistics vessel. HMS Diamond, a brand-new £1billion Type 45 destroyer, one of the most powerful ships in the British fleet, will also be operating in the region.
In addition, commanders will also simulate destroying Iranian combat jets, ships and coastal missile batteries.
In the event of war, the main threat to the multi-national force will come from the Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps navy, which is expected to adopt an “access-denial” strategy in the wake of an attack, by directly targeting US warships, attacking merchant shipping and mining vital maritime choke points in the Persian Gulf.
I do believe things are heating up and as countries fall further into chaos over economic crisis there is no better distraction than war. There are some analysts who believe we could see a limited hot nuclear exchange in the region.
How could this happen. Well one scenario proffered by The Atlantic is:
One possible scenario for the not-so-distant future: Hezbollah, Iran’s Lebanese proxy, launches a cross-border attack into Israel, or kills a sizable number of Israeli civilians with conventional rockets. Israel responds by invading southern Lebanon, and promises, as it has in the past, to destroy Hezbollah. Iran, coming to the defense of its proxy, warns Israel to cease hostilities, and leaves open the question of what it will do if Israel refuses to heed its demand.
Dennis Ross, who until recently served as President Barack Obama’s Iran point man on the National Security Council, notes Hezbollah’s political importance to Tehran. “The only place to which the Iranian government successfully exported the revolution is to Hezbollah in Lebanon,” Ross told me. “If it looks as if the Israelis are going to destroy Hezbollah, you can see Iran threatening Israel, and they begin to change the readiness of their forces. This could set in motion a chain of events that would be like ‘Guns of August’ on steroids.”
Imagine that Israel detects a mobilization of Iran’s rocket force or the sudden movement of mobile missile launchers. Does Israel assume the Iranians are bluffing, or that they are not? And would Israel have time to figure this out? Or imagine the opposite: Might Iran, which will have no second-strike capability for many years — that is, no reserve of nuclear weapons to respond with in an exchange — feel compelled to attack Israel first, knowing that it has no second chance?
The nuclear experts I respect most, including Bruce Blair, of Global Zero, and David Albright, of the Institute for Science and International Security, both call a Middle East in which Iran possesses a small number of nuclear weapons a dangerously unstable place. Here is what Albright told me Monday about Iran’s particular challenges in an escalating confrontation — the no second-strike conundrum: “In a crisis, you don’t want to go first, but you don’t want to go second, either. It ends up in an unstable situation. Miscalculations can result in nuclear weapons being used. Iran may feel it doesn’t have second-strike capability and so would, in an escalating crisis, feel it has to use what it has first.” Iran, he explained, will be hampered, for many years after it crosses the nuclear threshold (assuming it is allowed to cross), by a small arsenal of comparatively modest bombs.
“Our estimate of their warhead design, based on internal documentation from the IAEA (International Atomic Energy Agency) is that they would be building low-yield fission weapons of a few kilotons each” — “Fat Man,” dropped on Nagasaki, was roughly a 20-kiloton bomb — “because they’re forced to miniaturize to make it smaller for delivery,” Albright said.
I believe this very well could happen, and then where do the existing world powers stand? Would there be an escalation between China, Russia, UK, and America? In that situation, would the people not be desperate to find peace? We do indeed live in interesting times.